The entire internet -- or the woke part, at the very least -- gave a collective groan when Johnny Depp's continued role in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald was not only confirmed but enthusiastically defended by both director David Yates and J.K. Rowling. Many felt that the accusations of domestic abuse levied by Depp's ex-wife Amber Heard should have guaranteed his removal from the film, but Rowling implied that she and Yates had inside knowledge of the reality of Depp and Heard's domestic disputes. "Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the film-makers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies." Yates called it a "dead issue." At a time when women were finally being supported for telling their stories, this seemed to many like a tone-deaf response.
Now, Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has weighed in with his two cents on the situation. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly about the backlash to Rowling's statement, Radcliffe's measured reply contextualized the situation by comparing it to Harry Potter star Jamie Waylett's (who played Crabbe Goyle in the first six Potter films) 2009 arrest for marijuana possession.
"I can see why people are frustrated with the response that they were given from that...I'm not saying anything that anybody hasn't already said -- and this is a weird analogy to draw -- [but] in the NFL, there are lots of players arrested for smoking weed and there is other people's behavior that goes way beyond that and it's tolerated because they're very famous players. I suppose the thing I was struck by was, we did have a guy who was reprimanded for weed on the [original Potter] film, essentially, so obviously what Johnny has been accused of is much greater than that."
Fantastic Beasts will be released this November.